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Mothers and Daughters and the Origins of Female Subjectivity challenges the theory of the Oedipus complex, which permeates psychoanalytic theory, psychology, semiotics and cultural studies. The book focuses on the re-examination of women's development through the theories of primitive mental states.
Women's subjectivity has been profoundly limited by continuing anxieties about the mother's body. Jane Van Buren describes how women are gradually escaping the curse of inferiority and finding a voice, enabling the mother to provide their daughters with a legacy of rightful agency over their bodies and minds. Drawing on the theories of Klein, Bion and Winnicott, and incorporating recent developments in psychobiology, this book provides a novel approach to subjects including the dreams, myths and phantasies of individuals, the nature of mother and daughter relationships, sexuality, pregnancy, menstruation and the idea of the mother's body as problematic and dangerous.
This interdisciplinary investigation into curtailed female subjectivity and its many ramifications in society, culture and individual mental growth will be of great interest to all practising psychoanalysts, and those studyingpsychoanalytic theory and gender studies.